/blog/The Neighbourly blog | NeighbourlyRead the Neighbourly blog for our latest news, resources and information about our fundraising, volunteering and surplus programmes.

Neighbourly Joins the Microsoft Positive Accelerator Programme

14 February 2024

There are many exciting things that have happened at Neighbourly over the years and at the end of 2023, we were delighted to be invited to join Microsoft’s Entrepreneurs for Positive Impact (EfPI) Accelerator programme for 2024. The Programme is part of the company's broader efforts to support entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups focused on creating positive social and environmental impact. 

Our proposition of helping companies do more to support the communities they serve, socially and environmentally aligns closely with the programme’s goals, and with Neighbourly’s tech stack and impact dashboards, there is an excellent fit. 

The programme provides dedicated mentorship, guidance, resources, and networking opportunities. As well as tapping into the extensive resources at Microsoft’s disposal it’s also an opportunity for like-minded businesses and individuals to come together and share knowledge and resources. 

Last week, our COO Zoë Colosimo was invited to Microsoft's London HQ along with other leading change makers from the programme: Granular Energy, Hello Lamp Post, and MeVitae to talk about AI for Social and Environmental Innovation.

It was an inspiring and insightful day, packed with positive conversations on how AI can be harnessed as a force for good, and the potential for private and public sector to collaborate and learn from each other in this field.


The EfPI Accelerator program forms part of Microsoft’s #BuildFor2030 Initiative, which aims to progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.Microsoft also became a signatory to the Rise Ahead Pledge. Signatories commit to take action in time for 2030, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and pledge to create collective, quantitative targets for their activities in time for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2025.

A landmark report, the Corporate Social Innovation Compass, complements the pledge, covering more than 10 mechanisms for companies to partner with social innovators, the benefits and the journey that companies take when engaging with social enterprises. 

As signatories to initiatives like Rise Ahead, Microsoft is demonstrating a long-term commitment to enabling positive change, and we are excited to contribute to that vision.

Watch this space for further updates on our involvement in the Positive Accelerator programme.

Neighbourly X Coca-Cola | The World Needs More Santas

23 November 2023
coca-cola neighbourly christmas truck fund

This year we’re excited to be working with Coca-Cola on their campaign “The World Needs More Santas”, bringing the magic of Christmas to life by encouraging the embodiment of Santa’s spirit of generosity, goodwill and kindness.

The Coca-Cola Truck Tour is well known for capturing the attention of the nation, and this year they will be continuing their mission of giving with a host of interactive activities for visitors to the Truck to immerse themselves in. As well as gifting areas, gamified experiences, prizes and photo opportunities, visitors will be invited to take part in the ‘Discover Your Inner Santa’ quiz, inspired by Coca-Cola’s TV advert, to find out whether they are a Jolly-Giving Santa, a Merry-Making Santa, the Neighbourly Santa, or the Heart Warming Santa and inspire individuals to embrace this archetype and the spirit of giving this Christmas.

£100,000 fund to be donated to Neighbourly good causes across the 17 cities that the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour will be visiting

As part of our ongoing partnership with Coca-Cola, they will be further supporting the work of local charities with a volunteering scheme and £100,000 fund, to be donated via the Neighbourly Foundation to social-impact focused volunteering partners and good causes across the 17 cities that the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour will be visiting. 

The first stop is Glasgow, on Friday 24th November, where the Neighbourly hero cause is REFUWEEGEE, a charity that has been warmly welcoming refugees and asylum seekers to Glasgow, and Scotland since 2015. At the heart of the organisation is a desire to treat displaced people with dignity and care. The charity does this through providing a safe space for drop-in, emergency food and toiletry packs, a free clothes and household shop, English classes, art-therapy and free haircuts, amongst other activities.

Here at Neighbourly, we’re looking forward to visiting the Truck when it stops in Bristol, supporting SENSE FAMILY CENTRE WOODSIDE, a national disability charity that has been helping people with complex communication needs to be understood, connected and valued for over 60 years. With a simple mission to make sure no one with complex communication needs is isolated, left out or unable to fulfil their potential, Sense supports children, young people and adults in their home, the community and at its centres, from education to transitioning to adulthood through holidays, arts, sport and wellbeing programmes. 

If you would like to help Coca-Cola and Neighbourly deliver acts of kindness to those that need it most in the local community, you can donate to the fund using the link below or visit one of the Truck Tour stops to donate via the QR codes available. Stay tuned for the full Truck schedule on their socials, @CocaColaEU (Instagram) and @CocaCola_GB (Twitter).

The Procurement Act 2023: What Your Business Needs to Know

8 November 2023

New build homes on a building site

In this blog, we take a look at the latest procurement law to have passed in the UK and the effect it’s likely to have on the delivery of social value by private businesses.

On 26 October, The Procurement Act 2023 attained Royal Assent, overturning the current public procurement regime in the UK. The bill regulates how the UK Government and public sector entities purchase goods, services and public infrastructure from private sector suppliers and signifies fundamental structural changes to the current procurement landscape, combining the overarching regimes currently regulating procurement.

The Act brings greater flexibility to contracting authorities, with the aim of making bidding for contracts easier for smaller and more locally focused businesses. It also introduces several new requirements aimed at adding a greater level of transparency to the procurement lifecycle, from planning through to contract expiry.

Looking specifically at social value, what impact will the bill have?

Despite efforts to the contrary, the bill itself does not employ the term “social value”; instead, the government is employing the term “public benefit” as the threshold for the most beneficial tender.

Regardless of this omission, the bill is intended to promote social value in procurement decision-making, requiring contracting authorities to factor environmental sustainability, impact on the local community and the fair treatment of workers into their planning.

The method in which this social value-based criterion is being promoted is through bids being ranked according to the “most advantageous tender” (MAT) approach rather than the “most economically advantageous tender” (MEAT). Under this evaluation method, contracting authorities will be expected to consider social value and wider “public benefit” considerations alongside value for money.

However, the bill does not go further in setting out a clear framework for assessing bids that align with specific social value goals.

For more specific guidance on embedding social value criteria into public tenders, the government’s Procurement Policy Notes published in 2020 and 2021 provide a clearer directive, building directly upon the instrumental Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. This was the first legislation passed in the UK that requires public sector bodies to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social, and environmental well-being of an area.

Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, how much weight actually afforded to this consideration was left to the discretion of the government body, which only had to consider the ‘social value’ where it was proportionate, taking all considerations into account. In practice, this meant that social value considerations were often disregarded in favour of other priorities, in particular where there was a short deadline for the procurement.

Procurement Policy Note 06/20 changed this by making social value a mandatory consideration - it must now be ‘explicitly evaluated’ instead of simply ‘considered’. In fact, a minimum weighting of 10% is provided. Alongside the note, the government published a framework of over 50 metrics that all organisations hoping to enter a bid for a public contract, referred to as the “social value model”; these are split into five key groups.

  • Covid-19 Recovery
  • Tackling economic inequality
  • Fighting climate change
  • Driving equal opportunity
  • Wellbeing

The note and extensive detail on all related metrics can be found here.

This note was followed by a National Procurement Policy Statement in June 2021 which included the following directive. “All contracting authorities should consider the following national priority outcomes alongside any additional local priorities in their procurement activities:”

  • creating new businesses, new jobs and new skills;
  • tackling climate change and reducing waste, and
  • improving supplier diversity, innovation and resilience.

Whilst policy notes and statements are in themselves not legally binding like legislation, their function is to provide background information and context to help interpret and apply new laws, offering guidance to stakeholders and clarifying the scope and limits of legislation.

Therefore, whilst The Procurement Act 2023 does not explicitly reference social value, these proceedings statements and the 2012 Social Value Act clearly signpost an increasing need for these considerations to be at the forefront when considering the “most advantageous tender.”

Whilst much remains open to interpretation, the trend line is clear: social value is increasing in importance, and organisations bidding for public work that are not primed to respond appropriately will increasingly put themselves at a disadvantage when trying to win work.


How can Neighbourly support your organisation in delivering social value?    

At Neighbourly, we have extensive experience supporting organisations in delivering social value at a local level. Our capabilities include;

  • Expert consultation on developing a holistic community strategy tied to ESG commitments
  • Volunteer matching with local charities and causes based on skills, interests, and availability to meet community needs
  • Tools and resources to make volunteering easy to manage, engage employees, and track participation
  • Curated volunteering opportunities tailored to contribute to key social impact goals like environment, education, health, and inclusion
  • Reporting on social value contributions through volunteering such as skills gained, beneficiaries reached, etc.
  • Options to donate funds locally and directly support charity operations and programming
  • Solutions to involve business partners like suppliers and customers in shared social initiatives
  • Support with storytelling and communications to bring community engagement to life across stakeholders

If you’re interested in having a conversation with a member of our team about how we can support your organisation's social value objectives, get in touch today.

Lidl brings back Toy Banks for Christmas 2023, in partnership with Neighbourly

2 November 2023

Christmas is all about sharing and bringing people together. To help make the magic happen, Lidl has once again brought back their in-store toy banks, in partnership with Neighbourly, where customers can make donations of unopened toys and gifts. From stocking fillers to something bigger, the toy donations from Lidl customers will be provided to families through our store partnerships with charities, foodbanks and community groups. In-store donation points are open until 16th December.

In a new addition for this year, Lidl plush friends Racoon and Monkey will be available to buy in-store, with all proceeds going to the toy bank charity partners. 

Head down to a local Lidl to support this amazing scheme, until 16th December.

Neighbourly Wins Best Leadership in Technology in Management Today Business Awards

12 May 2023

We are proud to share that Neighbourly has been announced as the winner in the Best Leadership in Technology category in the Management Today Business Awards. The awards were created to recognise the role of leadership in driving business performance, celebrating organisations who are defined by a clarity of purpose and dedication to doing business the right way. 

"This is an organisation that operates with strong purpose and will play an increasingly important role in the cost of living crisis"

Management Today highlighted that between Neighbourly's beginnings and the start of 2023, the platform successfully distributed over 118 million meals worth of surplus food, 113,000 volunteer hours, £22 million in funds and 1,800 tonnes of products, saving 185 thousand tonnes of CO2 across the UK and Ireland. Neighbourly has also helped more than 7,000 local charities and community causes in the past year - who in turn support a combined total of over 2.6 million people every week. 

Judge’s feedback highlighted: “This is an organisation that operates with strong purpose and will play an increasingly important role in the cost of living crisis. It’s impressive how it has garnered the support of big players such as Aldi, Lidl and M&S to its cause. A worthy winner and I like the maximisation of existing infrastructure and B Corp status which takes a lot of effort - solid”.

Commenting on the awards, Neighbourly COO Zoe Colosimo said: “I am proud of every step in the Neighbourly journey, but particularly this one for our fantastic team - it’s a testament to the outstanding work and effort of everyone, in what has been a significant year for the business. 

”Thank you to Management Today and the board of judges for celebrating the role of business and technology in driving positive social change and creating impact. We look forward to another year of helping businesses contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of the communities in which they operate.”

Getir reaches one million meal donations

5 April 2023

Getir, the pioneer of ultrafast grocery delivery, has recently reached a milestone of over one million donated meals from its gstores to local good causes through the Neighbourly platform. 

The partnership, which has been running for a year, has now seen over 420,000 tonnes of food donated to over 330 good causes, like St Mungo's Haringey Recovery Service in London, Wycombe Food Hub and Betel Birmingham.

By redistributing this food, Getir has saved 1,520 tonnes of CO2 and made a total financial impact of over £1.8M to local communities. The whole Getir estate is now live on the Neighbourly platform, providing community organisations and charities with surplus food donations on a regular basis.

Getir’s goal of zero food waste sits amongst a number of initiatives to support their wider sustainability and community ambitions.

Their UK General Manager Chris Chaaya told us; “In light of the ongoing challenges families face with the rising cost of living, we are more committed than ever to providing assistance to those in need. As a company, we strive to be active and valuable in the areas we serve and we’re proud to have reached this incredible milestone within the first year of our partnership with Neighbourly.

This initiative has enabled us to directly benefit those who need it most, via new partnerships with over 330 local charities. It’s brilliant to see our store teams forming great relationships with these community-based organisations, that is something we really encourage.”

Introducing Neighbourly for mid-sized businesses

28 March 2023

global change starts here

We have reached a unique inflection point when it comes to ESG. Our planet, the global economy and its people are facing existential pressures but at the same time more and more businesses are looking to mobilise to alleviate poverty, preserve ecosystems, and build strong communities and institutions.

Which is why at Neighbourly we’re launching new platform capability which allows medium-sized businesses to access our innovative giving technology to increase their local social and environmental impact.

These new features have been built specifically to help mid-tier organisations find and support the local charities and causes their staff and customers care about, through employee volunteering, surplus product redistribution, and financial donations.

The unique features not only create transparency around what’s needed locally but also enable companies to fully manage their own localised giving campaigns, and measure the positive effect of these programmes through real-time impact dashboards.

In a recent consultative survey, we found that, as with the enterprise segment, mid-sized businesses are placing even greater importance on supporting local communities. The vast majority believe that supporting local good causes through volunteering and grants is more of a priority now than pre-pandemic, and that visibility of this is important to their customers and employees. Impact reporting was also described as a top priority, to enable the business to understand and share how their contribution has helped. 

Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth said, “We’re delighted to bring our platform capability to a wider range of companies, at a time when demand for support from charities and local community groups is at an all-time high due to the cost of living and energy crisis.

“Mid-sized businesses tend to operate in the heart of their local communities and have strong geographical ties. Using the Neighbourly platform will not only enable them to help build happy, healthy, and more resilient communities, but also to measure their positive impact, which is truly unique to Neighbourly.”

If you’re a mid-sized business, and want to find out more and join our mission to create £1bn of local impact by 2025 - follow the link below.

Aldi unveil Christmas 2022 advert with Kevin the carrot

10 November 2022

Aldi’s Christmas 2022 TV advert is here, featuring their partnership with Neighbourly alongside last winter’s festive phenomenon Kevin the Carrot and a cameo from Marcus Radishford. Echoing the same powerful sentiment “make Christmas amazing for everyone”, the ad sees Kevin the carrot embark on a new, yet familiar, Christmas adventure.

Neighbourly is delighted to feature in the advert, which highlights the work we’ve done with Aldi since 2019 distributing community grants as well as surplus food from all of their UK stores to local small charities and community groups. So far, Aldi has donated over 25 million meals to those in need, including schools, soup kitchens and breakfast clubs.

Additionally, this year Aldi is encouraging their customers and followers to support the Neighbourly Foundation*, to help local communities in need over the winter. 

If you, like family member Jasper Carrot, would like to donate some of your pocket money you can click the link below to help local families.

*charity 1189514

Gifts that Give - M&S and Neighbourly’s Christmas Partnership Launch

4 November 2022

This Christmas M&S has teamed up with Neighbourly to deliver a Christmas campaign with a purpose. As winter can be a difficult time for the most vulnerable in our local communities - with small charities and causes often seeing a big spike in demand and the Cost of Living Crisis adding further strain, M&S wanted to help by launching their Gifts that Give initiative. 

M&S has given £1 million across 1,000 small charities and community groups in the UK and Ireland through the Neighbourly Foundation (charity 1189514). The donations will contribute towards supporting each organisation through what is set to be a difficult winter period. 

To mark the festive campaign, M&S has brought together a number of these hardworking groups to feature in their Christmas TV advert, which you can watch on our website

You’ll also be able to meet and find out more about three of the good causes in the advert: the Kaotic Angels, Caenhill Countryside Centre and the Y Centre Skaters. These charities invited Neighbourly to visit their hometowns to film them doing what they do best, helping their local communities. 

How the grants will be used this Christmas

From food banks and homeless support to disability charities and schools spanning the UK, the 1,000 recipients are using their grant money for a variety of reasons. Amongst the beneficiaries are Scout and Rainbow groups who will be using the money to heat their venues through the winter months and a refugee charity called 3D Drumchapel in Scotland who is using the money to “run sessions to help with the cost of living and an after school club to bring families into the warmth, allow children to do their homework and also to provide families with a hot cooked meal”. 

Whiterock Children’s Centre Christmas Appeal in Northern Ireland will be using their grant money to help people in their local community struggling with the cost of living by “giving some support with the non essentials like toys or clothes for Christmas”. Also being supported is England community transport charity, Please Take Me, whose aim is to give those suffering with cancer in their community “free, regular, net-zero, non-emergency transport to and from their hospital appointments.”

You can find out more about the inspiring causes receiving the grant here. You can also find a list of all of the charities and good causes featured in the advert at the end of the blog.

About the M&S and Neighbourly Partnership

In 2015, M&S became a founding Neighbourly partner as they were leading the way in delivering their pioneering Plan A Sustainability strategy. M&S's first campaign engaged thousands of staff in fundraising £900k for local causes in its first year, a success that led them to working with Neighbourly to develop a number of innovative and evolving programmes over many years.

M&S went on to launch mass employee volunteering, a network-wide back-of-store food and product surplus redistribution, and further rounds of targeted fundraising and grants programmes with wide-reaching social and environmental impact - supporting over 6,000 local good causes which help an estimated 2.3 million people every week.

“M&S's Christmas campaign is a brilliant celebration of kindness and a timely reminder of the importance of community at a time when support at a local level is needed more than ever. 

“Findings from our recent community survey found that 83% of local groups are already experiencing a rise in demand on their services yet 69% reported they’ve found it harder to find funds in the last three months. We’re delighted to have partnered with M&S on the distribution of this £1million fund which will make a huge difference to groups in our network over the winter period. This campaign builds on a long-standing community strategy that has seen M&S support over 6,000 good causes in the Neighbourly network and donate nearly 50 million meals worth of surplus food."

Steve Butterworth, Neighbourly CEO

Charities features in the TV ad: The Kaotic Angels Club, The Y Centre Skaters, UK Soul Choir, Mintridge Basketball Club, Kearsly Brass Band, Caenhill Countryside Centre, Paddington Arts Dance Group, Valley Invicta Primary School at East Borough Majorettes, Bengali Dancers.

10 #FixThisCrisis campaigns you can get involved in

7 September 2022

The UK is currently facing a national emergency in the form of the cost of living crisis. Even before the crisis, millions of people across the country were facing a winter choosing between heating or eating, and many are now realising that they may not be able to afford either.

Along with more than 50 organisations, we are supporting Turn2Us and Save the Children in the #FixThisCrisis campaign which is calling on the government to act with urgency to ensure the wellbeing of the population. 

Below we have compiled some of the campaigns and petitions being run by charities in response to the crisis so that you can show your support.

38 Degrees - We need an emergency budget that boosts Universal Credit now

This petition is urging the Government to announce an emergency budget that increases Universal Credit immediately.

With the cost of living crisis already hitting families hard and energy bills set to soar even more, this is more important now than ever.

“The Government raised Universal Credit during the pandemic - providing a lifeline to millions - and with enough pressure, they could do it again.”

Turn2Us - Write to your MP

Join Turn2Us in their campaign to ask for urgent action to help people during this cost of living crisis.

Writing to your MP lets them know how people in their area are being affected and can encourage them to take action.

“The more MPs that receive emails in their inbox, the better. Even if you think your MP will not be receptive, it is still important to write to them - the more public pressure MPs receive, the better chance we have of making a change.”

Action for Children - We need urgent and decisive action on the cost of living crisis

In this open letter to Liz Truss, Action for Children are asking the new Prime Minister to take the urgent steps required to give families the support they need and strengthen the safety net. 

Their three requests are that the government:

  1. Restore benefits to a decent level. If the cost of living goes up, benefits should reflect this.
  2. Increase the child element of Universal Credit to help lift children out of poverty.
  3. Deliver a serious and cross-government strategy to tackle child poverty and make it a key part of the government’s plans for levelling up.

  • Add your signature to the letter here

Save the Children - Call on the Government to do more to ease the cost of living crisis

Save the Children are calling on the government to invest in a level of social security that is sustainable and sufficient for people to live on.

“When parents can’t afford the basics, children pay the price.”

  • Sign the petition here

Independent Age - Tell the next Prime Minister to take action on the cost of living

Writing to the Prime Minister, Independent Age are asking that urgent action is taken to support older people in financial hardship to address the spiralling cost of living. 

They are currently just 1,274 signatures away from their target of 5,000 - add your name below!

  • Sign the petition here

The Trussell Trust - Everyone should be able to afford the essentials

While food banks are there to help people when they need it most, this cannot, and should not, be the country’s long-term solution to hunger. 

Everyone should be able to afford life’s essentials, so we need a stronger social security system that provides security every day, not just in times of national crisis. 

  • Send a message to your MP here

Action Storm - Vulnerable young people are going hungry to pay the bills. End food poverty now!

Vulnerable young people faced with food poverty are experiencing huge difficulties with inflation historically high, energy costs soaring, rent and food prices going up, and an inevitable recession. This is putting noticeable pressure on their mental health.

Action Storm are calling on the government to:

  1. Uprate benefits to reflect the real cost of living.
  2. Remove the five-week wait for the first Universal Credit payment.
  3. Offer the choice of more regular payments i.e. every 2 weeks

  • Sign the petition here

Provide an energy grant to people with a disability or serious medical condition

This petition is calling on the government to provide a grant, so that people with a disability or serious medical condition can afford to run the equipment, or heating, they need to stay alive.

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

  • Add your signature here

Mencap - Call on the government to do more to ease the cost of living crisis

“The cost of living crisis is tough for everyone, but it can be even harder for people with a learning disability, many of whom are on low incomes, rely on disability benefits, and who need support to be able to budget and navigate complex information from energy suppliers.”

Mencap are working with UK partners including Shelter, Mind, Save The Children, Parkinsons UK and Action for Children to request that the government invest in a level of social security that is sustainable and sufficient for people to live on.

  • Sign the petition here

38 Degrees - We can't take more energy bill hikes!

38 Degrees are petitioning that the government, and energy regulator Ofgem, must intervene now to protect us from the upcoming energy bills increase. 

By stopping and reversing the catastrophic energy bill increases they can help to make sure that everyone is warm this winter.

  • Sign the petition here